The Leveling Up Secretary was challenged on Kay Burley’s Breakfast show on Sky over the cost of living crisis. Ms Burley pointed out to Michael Gove: “I just saw an interview with you back in 2016 before Brexit and you said after Brexit we would cut VAT on fuel bills. You said you would.”
Mr Gove replied: “After Brexit, we could cut VAT on fuel bills. At the time, I wasn’t the Energy Secretary.
“I said that this is one of the things that we could do outside the European Union that we could not do inside the European Union.
“What we’ve chosen to do is target the help on the very poorest.
“Cutting VAT on fuel bills…”
Ms Burley interjected: “Would help everybody who pays the fuel bill!”
The minister continued: “Including the Duke of Devonshire. I’ve got nothing against the Duke but my view is that if you’ve got a spare extra pound it shouldn’t go to dukes.”
Ms Burley asked: “Why did you highlight it as the case back in 2016 then?!
Mr Gove hit back: “Because it was one of the freedoms that Brexit could bring us.
“There are other Brexit freedoms in the Queen’s Speech that will enable us to both reduce the cost of living pressures but also to grow the economy.
“Ultimately, the answer to economic pressures now and in the future is a growing economy.
“Outside of the EU, we can take steps to make sure our farming, our agriculture and our scientific can produce more and produce more cheaply.”
Mr Gove was later grilled on why he said to cut VAT if he did not “think it was a good idea”.
He said: “I thought it was a good idea, it is a good idea but not the priority when you have a cost of living challenge like the one we do at the moment.”
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Boris Johnson warned the Government cannot “completely shield” people from the rising cost of living, as he came under fire for not using the Queen’s Speech to promise more support.
The Prime Minister used the Queen’s Speech, delivered for the first time by the Prince of Wales, to set out plans for changes to create a “high-wage, high-skill” economy, claiming the Government’s programme would “build the foundations for decades of prosperity”.
But charities, campaigners, and opposition politicians criticised the lack of any short-term measures to help people faced with soaring costs in their day-to-day lives.
The Prime Minister hinted at future help, using the “fiscal firepower” of the Government.